Disclaimer: I do not own Private Practice or the characters within, they are creations of Shonda Rhimes and I am simply borrowing them for my own entertainment.
AN: So, I can tell by the outraged voices across many forums, that I'm not the only one outraged by this episode. I think it was complete bull that none of the characters took Betsy in. They are successful adults with both the financial and emotional capacity to handle a child like Betsy, but with the exception of Violet, they were all selfish enough to let poor Betsy be lost in the system. Well, obviouly I intend to fix that. This is the first of several installments. Chapter two has been sent to the beta already and I'm currently writing chapter three. Thank you, Mediatorsk, for betaing!
AN2: I live for reviews, so whether you loved it or hated it, I want to know!
"Where am I gonna sleep tonight?"
Betsy's voice is on the verge of crying. And it breaks Violet's heart that the eight year old is even worrying about something like that. A child's biggest worries should be getting their homework done on time, deciding which friend to invite over for a playdate or deciding what toys they want for Christmas or their birthdays; not where they're gonna sleep or who's gonna take care of them.
Violet knows she can't fix everything bad that has happened to this child, but there is at least one thing she can do. A worry she can put to rest right away.
"How about you come home with me?" She reaches forward and strokes Betsy's cheek. There's a hint of relief in the child's eyes, but only that. Violet can't blame her for being guarded. In the past year poor Betsy has had to cope with both her mother and father dying, and only hours ago her own aunt walked out on her, leaving her alone in the world. Again.
"Where do you live?" the child finally asks.
Violet smiles. "Not very far from here. It's a pretty, yellow house. There's a trellis with lots of pink flowers right outside the front door. Do you like pink?" Betsy nods. "I do, too. There's a little yard out back, not very big, but it's very pretty. I think you'd like it."
There's a faint spark in the child's eyes as she asks, "Can we go right now?"
Violet shakes her head. "Not yet, sweetie. I have to do some work first, but do you want to come with me to the kitchen and have a snack?"
She gets up and reaches out her hand, which Betsy grabs. In the kitchen, Violet reaches for the frosted flakes in the top cupboard. Nutritionally she realizes it's not the best idea for a snack, but factoring in what kind of day Betsy is having, she figures the child could use a treat and pours some into a bowl, adding milk. Pete enters the room just as Violet is putting the box away and heads straight for her.
"Hey." He leans forward and gives her a small peck. "I'm headed back to the hospital, probably won't be home until late."
Just as he's about to leave, Violet reaches for his arm, holding him back. "Could we talk for a minute before you go?"
Pete frowns. "Sure, is there something wrong?"
Violet looks over at Betsy, who's been observing them out the corner of her eyes. "Sweetie, are you okay here for a minute?"
The girl nods and Violet gently leads Pete out of the kitchen and into her office.
"What's Betsy doing here?" Pete asks in a slightly hushed voice.
"Her aunt dropped her off this morning... for good."
"What?" Pete turns around and looks at the girl solemnly eating her snack. "Poor kid. How is she handling it?"
Violet shrugs. "She's quiet, withdrawn, which is to be expected. I think she's probably still in shock, lord knows I am..."
Pete responds by wrapping his arms around her and kissing the top of her head. Violet wholeheartedly welcomes the embrace and rests her head against his chest.
"She's worrying about where she's going to sleep. I told her she could stay with us. I hope that's okay with you?"
She doesn't see the slight frown on Pete's face as he mutters, "Um... sure."
With Amelia spending most of the day at the hospital consulting on Pete and Addison's patient, Violet takes the opportunity to set Betsy up in her daddy's old office with paper and crayons, giving the girl the opportunity to feel close to her dad again and relive the happy memories of the times she spent with him there. When Amelia took over the office, she kept a couple of Betsy's old drawings on the wall. She claims it's because she didn't have any decorations of her own and the drawings liven up the place, but Violet suspect it's Amelia's way of honouring Dell even though she didn't know him very well.
It's hard, at first, for Betsy to understand why they could let someone else have her daddy's office. It takes Violet some time to explain to the girl that even though this will always be her daddy's office, he wouldn't have wanted them to just let it stay vacant, because he was all about helping people. Betsy seems to accept that explanation.
Violet cleared her morning schedule when Aunt Monica came and almost literally dropped Betsy in her lap, but she still has some afternoon patients. Betsy seems to be okay with staying in her daddy's old office, especially knowing Violet is only two doors down. Between patients, Violet stops by to check on Betsy. Betsy hands her a drawing she's been working on. In the picture there's an adult figure holding the hand of a child figure. To the right there's a bright yellow house and pink flowers and to the left there are two floating adult figures with wings. Everyone is smiling, even the sun in the upper right corner.
Violet thanks Betsy for her beautiful drawing and promises to hang it up in her office. She spots a couple of other drawings that Betsy's made. She sees an adult figure with yellow hair that she guesses to represent Betsy's aunt Monica and a child figure she assumes is Betsy. Next to them is a green house, but instead of a sun it's raining and both figures are frowning. Violet makes a note to herself to one day ask Betsy about her life in Portland.
Betsy is quiet the whole ride over to Violet's house. She stares out the side window of the car, but shows no interest in the things that pass by. Violet contemplates engaging the girl in some form of conversation, but decides Betsy could probably use a break from talking. She needs to make the girl feel safe before she feels free enough to express the things that are really going on inside of her.
She parks in the driveway, but Betsy remains seated until Violet goes around the car and opens the door. She holds Betsy's backpack in her left hand and Betsy's hand in her right and leads the girl to the front door. Betsy's eyes wander to the trellis Violet told her about. Placing Betsy's backpack on the ground, Violet uses her free hand to reach out and pick one of the flowers. She drops to her knees and gently places the flower in Betsy's hair.
"Don't you look pretty," she says with a smile.
The girl momentarily lets go of her hand and reaches for one of the lower flowers on the trellis, placing it in Violet's hair.
"Now, we both look pretty," Violet remarks, earning herself momentary smile from the child.
She unlocks the front door and calls out to the nanny that she's home. She has recovered from her trauma, but she's not willing to risk another patient figuring out her adress, so she's made it a rule that the front door is always to be locked, no matter who is in the house. She takes off her shoes and helps Betsy with hers when the nanny appears in the doorway, holding Lucas.
"Hey Booboo," Violet cooes, as she stretches out her arms to take Lucas from the nanny, kissing the top of his head. "Did you have fun with Maria?"
She drops to her knees, balancing Lucas on her right knee. "Lucas, this is Betsy. She's going to be staying with us for a while. Can you say Betsy?"
"Bah," Lucas replies.
"Betsy," Violet continues, "This is my son, Lucas."
"Hi, Lucas," the girl quietly replies.
"Has he eaten yet?" Violet asks the nanny.
"Not yet," Maria replies. "I didn't expect you home so soon."
"Then I guess we're all having dinner," Violet announces. "You hungry?" she asks Betsy, who nods.
She bids Maria goodbye and locks the door behind her before taking both children into the kitchen. She places Lucas in his high chair and hands him a toy to occupy him while figuring out what to make. Opening the fridge, Violet begins to realise that she probably should have stopped at the grocery store on the way home to buy some of Betsy's favourite foods. "See anything you like in there?"
When the girl says nothing, Violet opens up one of the kitchen cupboards and lifts Betsy up on the counter.
"I like Mac'n Cheese," the girl quietly says.
"Mac'n Cheese, it is," Violet announces, and takes her favorite hangover food out of the cupboard. While preparing it, she also boils carrots, broccoli and cauliflowers on the side, to make the dish a bit more healthy, as well as a couple of potatoes to mash up for Lucas.
When the three of them sit down at the kitchen table to eat, Violet can tell the girl isn't too happy with the added vegetables, but politely finishes everything on the plate before asking if she can have a little bit more Mac'n Cheese. Violet mashes up the potatoes and carrots in a bowl together with a little milk. Seeing Lucas eyeing her and Betsy's dinner with great interest, she feeds him a little bit of her own plate between several spoonfulls of vegetables. Once she sees him losing interest in the food, she gives him a bisquit to chew on while she eats her own dinner.
Once dinner is out of the way, Violet shows Betsy around the house, including the guest bedroom where she'll be sleeping. Violet watches Betsy unpack the scarce content of her back, just a change of clothes and a nightgown as if her aunt had just told her she'd only be away for the night. She makes a mental note to take the girl shopping. She would take her right away, but Lucas' bedtime is only in a couple of hours, and Betsy still needs to get used to the house. She'd ask Pete, but his shift at the ER doesn't end until late. Naomi's out of town, and Violet doesn't really want to ask Sam if he still has some of Maya's old clothes that Betsy could have, as she can tell he doesn't agree with her taking Betsy in, for whatever reason.
Introducing Betsy to one of Lucas' favorite games of putting a lot of things into a bucket and then pouring them out onto the floor, she steps back and keeps just one eye on the kids while dialing the phone. Despite being an only child, Betsy seems to naturally take on a big sister role with Lucas, and Lucas seems to really take to Betsy.
There's an answer at the other end. "Hello?"
The door bell rings while Betsy and Lucas are eating supper. Violet opens the door to find Addison with a couple of bags of clothes. "Thank you so much for doing this," she sighs, "I mean, naturally I'm gonna take her shopping one of these days, find some things she'll like, but I felt she could use a couple hours around the house, get acclimated before spending the night here."
"Not a problem," Addison replies, handing the bags over to Violet. "How is she doing so far?"
Violet steps aside to let Addison into the house. "I've let her know she can come talk to me about anything, but I've decided not to push it right away, let her come to terms in her own way about what happened today. She's spent most of the afternoon playing with Lucas."
"Sounds adorable," Addison comments.
"It was," Violet smiles, "Especially the part where she held Lucas' hands and kept him steady as he walked across the livingroom."
"Aww," Addison cooes, "How come Pete didn't tell me Lucas is walking?"
"Well, he's not doing it on his own, yet. He still has to hold onto someone or something to manage. But he's... he's getting there." Violet's heart swells with motherly pride.
Betsy's head appears in the hallway. "We're finished," she informs Violet. "Can Lucas and I play some more, now?"
"I'm sorry, sweetie, but it's Lucas' bedtime. Do you want to be with Addison while I go get him ready?"
The girl shrugs and disappears into the livingroom.
Violet is sitting on the livingroom couch, one leg tucked behind the other, completely engrossed in a book when she hears the front door being unlocked and promtly locked again. She turns her head just in time for Pete to give her a peck hello.
"How did it go, here?" he asks.
"Good," Violet replies. "Betsy went to bed about an hour ago, and both she and Lucas were sleeping soundly when I checked on them half an hour ago. How did things go at the hospital?"
"Well, my pregnant patient is still in agony and I can't give her anything of substance as it could hurt the baby. The MRI is backed up, so we won't get to do one until tomorrow morning at the earliest. If we can't find a solution, fast, likelyhood is she will abort the baby, against her husband's wishes. It's all a big mess."
"I'm sorry." Violet reaches out and strokes Pete's cheek. Pete smiles and kisses the palm of her hand, before pulling his wife down with him on the couch and wrapping his arms around her. "I'm gonna take Betsy with me to the office, tomorrow. I don't think she'll respond too well to being left with a complete stranger so quickly after her aunt walked out on her. And maybe I can have a session with her, see if she'll open up."
"Sounds like a good idea," Pete murmurs, tiredly.
"Sounds like someone else needs to go to bed," Violet teases.